Book Review

Book Review: My Calamity Jane (The Lady Janies #3) by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult paranormal historical fiction
Length: 516 pages
Author: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: June 2nd, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Welcome ​to 1876 and a rootin’-tootin’ America bursting with gunslingers, outlaws, and garou.

JANE (a genuine hero-eene)
Calamity’s her name, and garou hunting’s her game—when she’s not starring in Wild Bill’s Traveling Show, that is. She reckons that if a girl wants to be a legend, she should just go ahead and be one.

FRANK (*wolf whistle*)
Frank “the Pistol Prince” Butler is the Wild West’s #1 bachelor. He’s also the best sharpshooter on both sides of the Mississippi, but he’s about to meet his match. . . .

ANNIE (get your gun!)
Annie Oakley (yep, that Annie) is lookin’ for a job, not a romance, but she can’t deny there’s something about Frank she likes. Really likes. Still, she’s pretty sure that anything he can do,
she can do better.

A HAIRY SITUATION
After a garou hunt goes south and Jane finds a suspicious-like bite on her arm, she turns tail for Deadwood, where there’s been talk of a garou cure. But things ain’t always what they seem—meaning the gang better hightail it after her before they’re a day late and a Jane short.

STRONG START.

Eh ending.

I’ve really enjoyed this book series. I found them easy to laugh along with, the side quips from the narrators were charming, and the characters were fun. The whole comedy concept of it is what made me read My Lady Jane when it first came out and continue on. I feel like they’ve kinda fallen from there though.

MCJ started off great. I was into the story, was cool with the paranormal “twist” and wondered where the story would go. I thought everyone was easy to love and liked the found family aspects of the show.

What didn’t mix was that I felt this was focused a lot more on Annie than Jane. Jane was there, often, of course, but she didn’t really get a massive story line like the other Janies. The focus was around Annie and Frank and their very much insta-love, love story. Cute at times, annoying at others is how my thoughts ranged reading this.

I found it continually harder to pick this book up to read and ended up skim-reading the last half. I think if it had been a bit shorter, not filled with random, out-of-place, political comments and had more focus on Jane, her love story, and what she was dealing with, I could have enjoyed it more.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult paranormal historical fiction
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: guns, murder, animal attacks, physical

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Book Review

Book Review: Maybe This Time by Kasie West

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: Point
Release Date: July 9th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

One year. Nine events. Nine chances to . . . fall in love?

Weddings. Funerals. Barbecues. New Year’s Eve parties. Name the occasion, and Sophie Evans will be there. Well, she has to be there. Sophie works for the local florist, so she can be found at every big event in her small hometown, arranging bouquets and managing family dramas.

Enter Andrew Hart. The son of the fancy new chef in town, Andrew is suddenly required to attend all the same events as Sophie. Entitled, arrogant, preppy Andrew. Sophie just wants to get her job done and finish up her sketches so she can apply to design school. But every time she turns around, there is Andrew, getting in her way and making her life more complicated. Until one day she wonders if maybe complicated isn’t so bad after all . . .

Told over the course of one year and following Sophie from event to event, this delightful novel from master of romantic comedy Kasie West shows how love can blossom in unexpected places.

CUTE PREMISE.

Here I am again, slowly working my way through Kasie West books. Looking for something ti compare to P.S. I Like You because that book is just a gem. This was cute, but I had the same struggles I’ve seen before.

I loved the idea of this book. Going through different events as the same characters connected over and over again. It flowed well and when it jumped to the next event it still felt continuous. The addition of all the floral aspects was gorgeous. I’m obsessed with flowers so I definitely didn’t mind. Comparing the flowers to the event was a fun quirk at the beginning of each section.

I didn’t love the main character, Sophie. I found her annoying, abrasive, a bit rude, and while yes, she definitely got better, I had already signed off on her in my mind. I don’t need a perfect character it would just have flowed better if she hadn’t bothered me the entire book. I thought her love interest Andrew was cute. They got off on the wrong foot and found their way back to companionship. Nice little happily ever after that I’m always a fan of.

The general adorable-ness usually present felt forced with this cast. I had a hard time convincing myself that I cared for anyone in particular. I feel these books are either a big hit or a big miss.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses

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Book Review

Book Review: The Toll (Arc of a Scythe #3) by Neal Shusterman

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult sci-fi + dystopian
Length: 627 pages
Author: Neal Shusterman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: November 5th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

It’s been three years since Rowan and Citra disappeared; since Scythe Goddard came into power; since the Thunderhead closed itself off to everyone but Grayson Tolliver.

In this pulse-pounding conclusion to Neal Shusterman’s Arc of a Scythe trilogy, constitutions are tested and old friends are brought back from the dead.

I THINK I LIKED THIS?

This was an…interesting finale. And I had REALLY hyped it up (especially after the ending of Thunderhead). I was expecting a lot from this book, and something a lot different which is why my feelings are a bit mixed up over it.

Who did I miss most? ROWAN AND CITRA. I felt like they were barely in this. And I thought they were supposed to be the whole crux of the story, it really turned out to be the Thunderhead. That was different in its own right.

Y’all. I had seen multiple reviews about people not knowing what was happening. And I was thinking how odd that was…then I read it. No lie, til about 500 pages in I didn’t quite know where everything was going. It was a tad ridiculous. Everything was hidden so much that I felt it dragging because the level of action in the previous book wasn’t present here.

I’m finding it difficult to write out this review because everything was not as I imagined. It was honestly kind of heart breaking watching the demise of the planet because of Goddard. I liked having so many different POVs though because that gave me perspectives from truly every angle. I saw what the protagonists and antagonists were thinking, and even what some random side characters were witnessing. It helped round out the narrative.

The evolution of the Thunderhead was intense. This all powerful AI somehow had some actual humanity in him and helped lead the charge for change. I would go into more detail on this, but it would be best if you went into this blind! I promise it’s at least interesting and will make you think.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult sci-fi + dystopian
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: a lot (which should be no surprise), page 107 – suicide by drowning, multiple killings in hundreds of different ways

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy #2) by Emily A. Duncan

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 544 pages
Author: Emily A. Duncan
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Expected Release Date: April 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Darkness never works alone…

Nadya doesn’t trust her magic anymore. Serefin is fighting off a voice in his head that doesn’t belong to him. Malachiasz is at war with who–and what–he’s become.

As their group is continually torn apart, the girl, the prince, and the monster find their fates irrevocably intertwined. They’re pieces on a board, being orchestrated by someone… or something. The voices that Serefin hears in the darkness, the ones that Nadya believes are her gods, the ones that Malachiasz is desperate to meet—those voices want a stake in the world, and they refuse to stay quiet any longer.

In her dramatic follow-up to Wicked Saints, the first book in her Something Dark and Holy trilogy, Emily A. Duncan paints a Gothic, icy world where shadows whisper, and no one is who they seem, with a shocking ending that will leave you breathless.

Thank you to the publisher, Wednesday Books, and Netgalley for the e-ARC. All opinions are my own.

TRUE TO ITS NATURE.

I should first acknowledge, will I read this third book? YES. While Ruthless Gods let me down a bit (and was way too long), there is still enough in here for me to need a conclusion to this wicked tale.

The desperation and darkness that leaked from these pages was astounding. This isn’t some cute fairytale y’all. This will hurt your soul most of the time and leave you questioning if a happy ending is ever possible. And honestly, I’M NOT SURE THAT IT IS. The scope of what someone is willing to do for love of country, and person pushed boundaries that left me reeling by the end. I was pulled in from the beginning, the middle definitely dragged on way too long, and then the ending gave me a interesting enough conclusion that I know I want more. This was a big case of book two syndrome.

This was reallllll creepy and realllll bloody. Every time Malachiasz showed his truly monstrous self I cringed because the mental picture is WEIRD Y’ALL. My boy Malachiasz was *almost* everything I needed him to be. I felt we were missing a chunk of his personality that didn’t come out until the very end. I wanted more heavily wicked banter and more intriguing moments with Nadya. I love this wicked cinnamon roll though and wonder what he’s planning next, because I know it’ll destroy my soul.

Serefin and Kacper. Saw it coming. LOVE IT. And that is about the only tiny moment of happiness Serefin saw this entire book (I told y’all, nothing good happens in Ruthless Gods). His continual battle with a god was intriguing, but here is my real gripe from the whole book; There were way too many visions and flashbacks. They often confused me because the segue into them was abrupt to the story.

My complaint from Wicked Saints was that Nadya wasn’t nefarious enough. She did up her ante in this installment!! YAY. I loved seeing her wield some dark magic and fight her demons. What I didn’t love was how wishy-washy she was about her relationship with Malachiasz. I get that it’s supposed to be this push and pull because he’s wicked, cool. BUT FOR REAL. I had a hard time getting on board with how often Nadya was flip-flopping and using pages to be a bit melodramatic about it all. I think some COMMUNICATION would solve most of these issues, it’s not even a matter of who’s wicked enough, it’s a matter of flat out talking to someone.

While I did enjoy the writing, some scene changes and chapter turnover was not in any sort of flow. It felt like small scenes were being jumped over and I was being tossed into the *next big thing* when I would have liked a bit more movement between scenes. I really loved the last 100 pages and am very curious about the last book. How the gods will play a role, what will happen between the countries, who is going to betray who last, SO MANY QUESTIONS. It’ll be a showstopper I’m sure.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: very little, in the second half of the book
  • Romance: a few kisses/make-outs, one almost scene that has a little heat
  • Violence: everything is bloody and gory y’all; murder, knives, magic, monsters, it’s all here
  • Trigger warnings: alcoholism, self-mutilation through cutting (for use of blood magic), self-mutilation through removing an eye

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